Amnesty Urgent Actions
Accueil Urgent Actions 2023 02

02

Justice for killing of human rights lawyer
Thulani Maseko was a courageous human rights defender, lawyer and state critic who refused to turn a blind eye to the government’s oppression of the people of Eswatini. On 21 January, he was shot and killed by unknown gunmen at his home in Luyengo, Mbabane. The Eswatini authorities must promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate the killing and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible. The victim and his family must be provided with access to justice and effective remedies.
Journalist’s conviction must be overturned
On 2 January, the High Court of Mukaza in Bujumbura, Burundi, sentenced journalist Floriane Irangabiye to 10 years in prison and a fine of one million Burundian francs (USD 482). She was convicted on trumped-up charges of «undermining the integrity of the national territory». Her lawyers have appealed this decision. Floriane Irangabiye was arrested on 30 August 2022 while on a family visit in Bujumbura. She is currently being held at the Muyinga Prison. Amnesty International believes that Floriane Irangabiye is being prosecuted solely for peacefully exercising her human rights and for her work as a journalist and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.
Child protesters targeted
Thai authorities are prosecuting and harassing child human rights defenders for peacefully exercising their right to protest. Among the 283 children targeted with criminal proceedings, authorities have sentenced LGBTI campaigner Thanakorn ‘Petch’ Phiraban, are investigating Chan Tonnamphet, an indigenous land rights activist, and are trying ‘Sand’, a youth activist, for protesting when they were under 18 years old.
Execution set after 32 years on death row
The State of Florida is scheduled to execute Donald Dillbeck on 23 February 2023. Now aged 60, he was sentenced to death in 1991 after only eight jurors voted for the death penalty under a law since found unconstitutional. His lawyers are seeking recognition that his neurobehavioral disorder is akin to intellectual disability and should exempt him from execution under constitutional law. They also maintain that the prosecution’s use of his prior conviction for murder to support the death penalty is undermined by new evidence that reveals more mitigating than aggravating factors than the original jury heard in this regard.
Forcefully returned critic held incommunicado
On 4 February, Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, a South Sudanese critic, was reportedly arbitrarily arrested, allegedly by armed Kenyan security forces and a South Sudanese man in civilian dress in Nairobi, Kenya where he resides. It is believed he was forcefully returned to Juba, South Sudan and is being held in incommunicado detention at a National Security Service detention facility. The South Sudanese authorities must clarify and reveal Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak’s fate and whereabouts, ensure he has regular access to his family, a lawyer and a doctor, and unless he is charged with an internationally recognisable offence, immediately release him.
Ex prisoner of conscience detained
On 14 February, according to information currently available to Amnesty International, state security officials detained former prisoner of conscience Josiel Guía Piloto in his home in Havana. At the time of his detention, he was hunger striking in protest over his constant harassment and surveillance. We call on the authorities to provide the reasons for Josiel Guía Piloto’s detention, to grant him access to a lawyer of his choosing, and to ensure he is not tortured or ill-treated while in detention.
Jailed brother of activist on hunger strike
On 16 February 2023, Algerian father of four and shop owner, Abderrahmane Zitout, started a hunger strike for the third time since his imprisonment, to protest against his prolonged, pre-trial detention which now exceeds 324 days. He languishes in arbitrary detention in El Harrach prison since 5 April 2022, on fabricated charges in a case related to his brother’s political activism and membership of political opposition group, Rachad, which the Algerian authorities have labelled as a terrorist group. The authorities must drop the unfounded charges against Abderrahmane Zitout and immediately and unconditionally release him.
Activist defending abortion rights faces trial
Woman human rights defender, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, could soon stand trial for speaking out for women’s rights in Andorra, including abortion rights, before a UN expert body in 2019. She faces a heavy fine and a criminal record if convicted. The authorities should drop the charge against Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, stemming solely from the exercise of her right to freedom of expression and advocating for women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, and take all necessary measures to ensure access to safe and legal abortion in Andorra.
Kurdish men forcibly disappeared for months
Iranian authorities have forcibly disappeared Iranian Kurdish dissidents Pejman Fatehi, Vafa Azarbar, Mohammad (Hazhir) Faramarzi and Mohsen Mazloum for seven months, by concealing their fate and whereabouts from their families and lawyer since their arrests in July 2022. They are at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment and unfair trials on charges that carry the death penalty.
A Chechen arrested in Moscow, disappeared
On 15 February, a 28-year-old Chechen man Idris Arsamikov was arbitrarily arrested on fabricated charges of fraud in Moscow Domodedovo airport and transferred to Chechnya. On 17 February, the police at Chechnya’s Shelkovsky District Police Department refused to disclose his whereabouts to his lawyers and give them access to their client. His whereabouts remain unknown. Idris Arsamikov had previously reported being arrested and tortured by the Chechen police for his perceived sexual orientation. He is at grave risk of further torture and other ill-treatment and his life is at risk. The Russian authorities must immediately release him and ensure his safety.
Activist held without charge for 200 days
Peace activist Abdul Karim Ali has been arbitrarily detained without charge since 11 August 2022. While the authorities have provided no formal reason for his detention, he was interrogated repeatedly about a video he made on 9 July 2022 denouncing a Cameroonian military chief for allegedly torturing civilians. If this is the basis for his detention, it is a violation of his right to freedom of expression. Two of Abdul Karim’s friends have also been taken into detention alongside him since then. Amnesty International is calling on the Cameroonian authorities to either charge the three men with a recognisable criminal offence or immediately release them.
Tortured Belgian aid worker forcibly disappeared
Iranian authorities are subjecting Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. He is held in solitary confinement in a windowless basement cell and is denied access to adequate healthcare and fresh air. On 10 January 2023, Iranian state media announced that he was sentenced to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes, amidst indications that the Iranian authorities are holding him hostage to compel Belgian authorities to swap him for a former Iranian official imprisoned in Belgium.